raised of £1,000 target


67% 10 days left
This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by March 2nd 2019 at 7:02pm

A surreal, erotic thriller about sexual awakening and the duality between dreams and reality.

by Benja Schweimler in Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

The Story

Birthed from cosmic darkness comes Mantis, the titular character of this surreal, erotic thriller. The protagonist of this story is not Mantis, but Wendy; mid-twenties, shy, a dreamer and an explorer.

Truth, illusion, sex, dreams, reality, Mantis, Desmond; these are the dualities Wendy faces throughout this story as she experiences a series of erotic lucid dreams.

The film begins with Wendy as she feels trapped with her long-term boyfriend Desmond. She yearns for something more in her relationship, especially her sex life given she feels no physical attraction towards Desmond. 

Mantis, alien-like, bald and very odd looking, begins to appear in Wendy’s erotic lucid dreams. And although she loves Desmond, she doesn’t want these dreams to stop. 

Mantis brings out Wendy's deepest primal desires. With Mantis, she feels free and empowered, she has regained control of her body and of her sexuality, something Desmond believes he owns. 

Nothing in 'Mantis' is what it seems.

Wendy is conflicted about her dreams. Desmond has some dark secrets and most importantly, who is Mantis? Where does he come from? And what does he want? 

The film is both transgressive and progressive, portraying an implicitly toxic relationship as well as a character’s sexual awakening from an empowering female perspective

The Concept

The cinematography in 'Mantis' is incredibly important to tell our story. We want the camera to move as it if were floating (in a similar fashion to Enter the Void) to further the dreamlike feeling conveyed.

Additionally, the colours and lighting have a very important part to play purple and red are associated with the titular character, and together act as a motif that symbolise the dream world he inhabits.

Purple, symbolises death or transformation, as well as elements of the unnatural. 

Red carries more obvious connotations, such as passion, violence, desire and lust. We will use an intense red and purple colour palette which will be achieved through practical lighting setups. 

Our main inspirations for this film thematically and visually were 'Enter the Void', 'Eyes Wide Shut', 'The Neon Demon', 'Santa Sangre' and 'Blue Velvet'. 

The Shoot

Because of the sensitive nature of this story, we have decided to work with a skeleton crew in which many of our talented members will work in the film on multiple roles.

Additionally, we want to ensure a level of professionalism while shooting as well as creating and maintaining a comfortable and safe on set environment for cast and crew alike. 

Therefore, we are in the process of hiring an intimacy coordinator to ensure that this standard is met. 

Funding and Support

‘Mantis’ is an ambitious project and your donations will be crucial for us to make our passion project into a reality. Every penny has been carefully distributed between departments in order to make use of everything we can get. We are lucky enough to already have free locations lined up as well as professional equipment provided by the University at no extra cost.

A large proportion of the funding will be used towards casting and hiring the best possible actors from London and the surrounding area. Additionally, specialist kit is required to achieve the visual style we desire for the film.

Meeting our target will greatly help us make our project a reality and also ensure the comfort of our cast and crew which we believe is crucial to making 'Mantis'.

Any donations, no matter the size, will be immensely appreciated and will be crucial for bringing this ambitious vision to life. We appreciate that not everyone is able to donate, so sharing on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform will be essential in helping us reach our target! From the whole ‘Mantis’ crew, thank you for your time and any donations or shares you can provide!

The Crew

 M. Can Yilmaz - Writer/Director

For Can, 'Mantis', as well as being his passion project, provides a different approach to film than anything he has made in the past. He wants to challenge himself, as well as the rest of the cast and crew to make the best possible film any of them have made before. 

He was born and grew up in Turkey, Istanbul. He is fluent in Turkish and English and he is currently in the United Kingdom doing a BA in Film in Bournemouth University. Can has written more than 20 short stories and scripts as well as directing a handful of shorts.

Benjamin Schweimler Ricca - Writer/Director of Photography


Ben has always been passionate about surrealist films and believes now is the perfect time to make his own. The greatest challenge he faces during this production is effectively conveying his clear and detailed vision for 'Mantis' on screen. He believes that to achieve this and make this project something special, it is essential to surround himself with a talented group of film-makers, which he believes he has done.

Born in London to an English father and Argentine mother, Ben grew up in London, Madrid, Havana, Buenos Aires and New Mexico. He is fluent in English and Spanish and is a graduate of UWC-USA class of 17’. He is currently a second-year student at Bournemouth University doing a BA in Film. He has four years of experience writing and directing films that have been screened in festivals in Buenos Aires, Mexico and the UK.

Ed Swift - Producer


Ed has had a passion for film-making his whole life. He has lots of experience with production management and is looking forward to challenging himself with a progressive project like ‘Mantis’. He has never worked on a surrealist film before, however, he is incredibly excited to make this project a reality. Having worked closely in the past with all the crew members, he is confident that this film will fulfil its potential and that they will do it justice. 

Ed is also a second-year film student at Bournemouth University and is excited to see this project thrive. Having had 4+ years of film-making experience under his belt, Ed generally specialises in Cinematography and is keen to build on his prior experience with production management and enhance his Producing skills. 

Cameron Dupuy - Sound Designer


Cameron has had experience in many different roles which has made him able to work to the best of his ability in all sorts of film-making. Although he is usually a production manager, he is excited to work in the world of sound design, bringing the surrealist story of 'Mantis' to life.

Currently in his second year studying BA Film at Bournemouth University Cameron has progressed his skills in production and will help towards creating the vision the writers and director have for this independent short film.

Joss Morfitt - Production Designer 

Joss has always had a dedicated and passionate attitude towards film. He has extensive experience in production design and hopes that this project will allow him to experiment to a further degree than in any previous projects. He believes that this project holds great potential and will give his all to actualise the film to its best quality. 

Joss is a second-year student studying Film at Bournemouth University. He has worked on a multitude of short films in a wide variety of roles, and is eager to develop his skills regarding production design on a more challenging project.

Harry Tomlin - Editor


Harry is a passionate and committed filmmaker specialising in Directing, Cinematography, Editing and Assistant Directing with a range of credits to his name. He really believes in the potential and unique style of this project and can't wait to help his close friends make this something really memorable.

Starting his own production company, Subtle Cut Media, two years ago, he has a wealth of experience in shooting and editing client videos as well as organising all proceedings. He will be working as the Editor on this production and will bring all his creativity and experimentation in order to elevate the final result. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£15 or more


With your donation you get a digital poster designed and created by the Director.

£5 or more


With your donation we are able to feed Mantis (or a hungry crew member).

£25 or more


With this donation you get all of the above and a digital copy of the script.

£50 or more


With this donation you will get all of the above as well as a 'special thanks' credit in the film.

£100 or more


With this donation you will make Mantis eternally grateful as well as getting all of the above and early access to the film via link.

£200 or more

0 of 5 claimed


With this donation you will become an executive producer on the film as well as receiving all of the above rewards.